The Power of Word-of-Mouth in B2B Marketing

As a leader, you already know that you need to be on top of your game when it comes to reaching potential buyers at every stage of their journey. But, did you know that B2B buyers are actually more likely to trust their peers than they are to trust the almighty Google, Gartner, or even vendors like you? Crazy, right?

Enter Dark Social

And that's where "Dark Social" comes into play. The term refers to those sneaky word-of-mouth channels that are super hard to track and measure. We're talking about direct word-of-mouth, internal company communications, meetups, and events, and even private messaging on social networks. These channels provide tons of opportunities for B2B companies to connect with their customers, but unfortunately, the outdated software-based attribution models just don't capture them. Dang it.

Now, you might be thinking "Hold on a minute, isn't that just regular old word-of-mouth marketing?" Well, you're not wrong, but there are some pretty important differences to consider.

Dark Social and traditional word-of-mouth marketing are similar in that they both involve people sharing information about products or services with others. However, Dark Social goes down through digital channels that are way harder to track and measure. For example, people may share information about a product or service through private messaging apps, email, or other sneaky online channels that we can't even see. That's why we call it "dark." Get it?

Another key difference between Dark Social and traditional word-of-mouth is that Dark Social can reach a much larger audience. With social media and other digital channels, people can easily share information with hundreds or even thousands of others. That's right, folks, we're talking exponential growth here.

So, while both traditional word-of-mouth and Dark Social involve people sharing information about products or services, Dark Social has the added benefit of being able to reach a much larger audience through digital channels. It's like word-of-mouth on steroids!

How to Incorporate Dark Social into Your Marketing Strategy

Now that we know what Dark Social is all about, you're probably itching to know how to actually use it in your marketing strategy, right? Fear not, my friend, here are some handy tactics to get you started:

Engage with customers and prospects on social networks and communities to build trust and credibility.

We all know that social networks and online communities are a hot spot for B2B decision-making. So, if you want to build trust and credibility with your customers and prospects, you gotta show up and engage with them on these platforms. Plus, you can gather some sweet insights about their needs and preferences while you're at it.

Create content that resonates with customers and encourages them to share it with their peers.

When it comes to encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations, effective content marketing is your new best friend. But, not just any old content will do. You gotta make sure it speaks to your customers' pain points, challenges, and goals. And hey, while you're at it, make it super easy for them to share that content with their friends and colleagues. Social sharing buttons, anyone?

Develop referral programs to encourage customers to spread the word about your products or services.

Incentivize your customers to spread the good word about your products or services with referral programs. Offer 'em discounts, free trials, or other incentives to sweeten the deal. Who doesn't love a good discount?

Use surveys and other feedback mechanisms to gather customer insights and feedback.

You know what they say, "the customer is always right." And we couldn't agree more. So, instead of relying on those boring old attribution reports, get some real customer insights and feedback with surveys, focus groups, and other feedback mechanisms. Use that juicy information to inform your marketing campaigns and improve your products or services.

Experiment with different channels and platforms to determine which ones work best for your target audience.

Look, we know there's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Dark Social. So, you gotta experiment with different channels and platforms to figure out what works best for your target audience. Keep an eye on that engagement and referral traffic to see which channels are bringing in the most results.

The Bottom Line

Alright, B2B big shots, now you know how to tap into the power of Dark Social to build those customer relationships, get those referrals, and drive those results. By engaging with customers on social networks, creating shareable content, developing referral programs, gathering customer insights, and experimenting with different channels, you'll be the Dark Social master in no time.

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